Saturday 27 July 2013

from Oh, Freedom

The hand finished. Kostas noted the score on a pad and started shuffling the pack. Bruno looked at his friends, the ones I didn't know, then turned to me with a perfect grin all over his mouth. 'Funny seeing you in here,' he said. 'And a Friday at that.'

Kostas started dealing the cards. 'Shut it,' he said.

'What?' said Bruno. 'I'm just wondering why he hasn't been in recently. Maybe he's been working the back shift. Eh, Tommy, have you been working the back shift?'

His friends found this funny. Fair enough, Bruno, you're an arsehole, best of luck. I should have left, but I couldn't move, not when there was beer sitting, especially as it was being paid for by someone else. It's easy to be smart when there's money in your pocket, and there was plenty in Bruno's, the International Chancer. I looked round the shop. The only other customer was seated at the table near the window. I did a double take. It was that American guy, the writer, tap tap tapping on his wee computer. He was quite famous in the town, there had been a story in the local rag, he'd won an award. I couldn't see what he was writing. I wouldn't have understood, anyway, I only did English for a couple of years at school, and I didn't pay much attention. The kids, right enough, if I'd helped them with their homework I might have learned something, but that was Eleftheria's department. In English, her name is 'Freedom', that was as much as I knew. She did an exam. It was really expensive, but she passed. She was thinking about applying for a teaching job as soon as things picked up.

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